Currency: Nuevo Sol (PEN)
Calling Code: +51
Peru (in Quechua and in Aymara: Piruw), officially
the Republic of Peru, is a sovereign country in western South
America. The Pacific Ocean borders its coast and borders Ecuador and
Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east, and Bolivia and Chile to
the southeast. Its territory is made up of diverse landscapes: the
valleys, the plateaus and the high summits of the Andes unfold to
the west towards the desert coast and to the east towards the
Amazon. It is one of the countries with the greatest biological
diversity and the largest mineral resources in the world.
Ancient Peru was a region of successive civilizations since the emergence of Caral-Supe in 3200 BC. The Inca Empire was the last autochthonous or indigenous State, which dominated a large part of the South American west towards the fifteenth century. The conquest of the Incario was followed by the next century, after which the territory was configured as a viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire articulated around the exploitation of silver and gold with forced labor of indigenous and African slaves in mines and haciendas. The Bourbon reforms of the eighteenth century led to various uprisings against the colonial authority, whose maximum exponent was the rebellion of Tupac Amaru II.
With the occupation of Spain and the promulgation of the 1812 constitution, ideas of political autonomy in Spanish America were disseminated. Independence was formally proclaimed in 1821, and was settled in the battle of Ayacucho three years later.The country remained in recession and military caudillismo until the bonanza and decline of the Guano era, which culminated shortly before the War from Pacific. In the postwar period, an oligarchic policy was cemented that prevailed until the end of the Oncenio. The successive democratic governments were constantly interrupted by coups d'état.
Arequipa - the white city, near the Colca Canyon.
Cuzco - former capital of the Incas.
Iquitos - In the tropical rainforest on the Amazon.
Lima - the capital.
Nazca Village near the famous Nazca Lines.
Puno - city on Lake Titicaca.
Trujillo - the first capital of Peru, also from the Moche culture & Chimu culture.
Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve is situated 16 mi from Iquitos in Maynas Province of Peru. The nature reserve covers an area of 58,070 ha.
Beautiful colonial town of Arequipa is the capital city of Arequipa Region of Peru.
Bahuaja Sonene National Park is located 37 mi (60 km) South-west from Puerto Maldonado in Peru. This national park covers an area of 1,092,142 ha.
Chauchilla Cemetery in Peru is famous for its Native American ancient mummies and burial artifacts.
Chavin de Huantar is an ancient archaeological site located 19 mi (30 km) South-east of Huari and 0.6 mi (1 km) from Chavin village in Peru.
Huascarán National Park is located 12 mi (40 km) from Huaraz in Peru.
Kuelap is an ancient walled town in Utcubamba Valley in Nortern Peru. Kuelap was constructed by tribes of the Chachapoyas culture.
Moray and Salinas de Maras was constructed by Inca natives, presumably as a giant agricultural experiment station.
Pacaya–Samiria National Reservation is one of the largest nature reserves in Peru protecting area around tributaries of the Amazon river.
Paracas National Reservation is famous for its marine bio diversity as well as impressive archeological site of the Paracas natives.
Archeological site of Sacsayhuamán outside of Cusco is a massive fortress for the defense of Inca capital.
The Inca Trail is a system of roads constructed by the Inca civilization that runs through their cities, fortresses and other structures.
Ancient city of Tipon is an important Inca settlement that served as a royal residence as well as a agricultural laboratory.
gallery America's highest train station.
Salkantay Trek. Alternative to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu - 71 kilometers at a maximum altitude of 4,630 meters.
Machu Picchu. Sacred site of the Incas, which is very well preserved to this day.
Colca Canyon. Fourth deepest canyon in the world.
Lake Titicaca. The highest navigable lake in the world, on which the floating islands are located. These are large islands braided with reeds, on which a tribe of indigenous people of the Andes has lived since the beginning of the Inca period.
Nazca Lines. Drawings scratched into the desert sand, some of which are over 100 m in size. They were made by the Nazca people (pre-Incas) and can only be viewed from the air or from a lookout tower. The purpose of the lines has not been clearly clarified to this day. There are theories ranging from artworks for the gods to calendars to landing strips for extraterrestrials. However, the current most likely explanation is that they are ritual drawings. The lines represent a kind of map that points to the mountains and rivers from which the water that is so important for this extremely dry area comes. According to the current theories, the animal figures are processional paths, they are designed from a solid line without branching. By walking these paths, the ritual powers of the animals depicted are supposed to be passed on to humans and at the same time the gods are to be appeased.
Vinicunca. A mountain range at an altitude of around 5,000 meters whose peculiarity is the nature of its rock. Due to layers of iron and copper oxide, as well as sulfur and granite, the mountains shine in different colors in good weather. Therefore they are often referred to as Rainbow Mountains.
Huacachina. Near the city of Ica, 307 km south of Lima, lies the oasis of Huacachina surrounded by huge sand dunes. The city's hotels are very popular with both backpackers and many Peruvians who spend their honeymoon there. A good place to relax for a few days. Major activities for tourists include dune climbing, sand boarding and roller coaster-style desert tours on sand buggies.
Paracas. Peninsula and Islas Ballestas, Peru's largest nature reserve.
All Europeans, except Albanians and Bosnians, do not need a visa. The passport must be valid for at least six months. Upon entry, there is a stamp in the passport, which is valid for up to 90 days. This can then be extended once in the country. After that you have to leave the country. But after a short stay abroad, you get a 90-day stamp when you enter the country.
There are flights to Peru from many major cities in Europe, America and Asia, but not from Germany. The main airport in the country is Jorge Chavez Airport in Lima. Other important airports are in Arequipa, Cajamarca, Cusco, Chiclayo, Iquitos, Pisco, Pucallpa, Tacna and Trujillo. Since recently there have also been regular flights from Arequipa to Arica, Chile. Other international connections are only available from Lima.
From Europe you can reach Lima, for example, with the Dutch airline KLM from Amsterdam, with LAN or with the Spanish Iberia from Madrid. The cost of a flight ticket is usually around 1000 €, the flight time is around 20 hours. Other options are flights via the USA, São Paulo with LAN/TAM or via Caracas/Venezuela and Bogotá/Colombia. Lufthansa flies regularly to Cararas and Bogotá. Connecting flights are Avianca (Star Alliance member).
An advantage, apart from the disadvantage of the controls, when traveling via the USA is that the traveler can take 2x32 kg of luggage with them. In 2022, the Iberia will charge extra for each checked baggage. Air France/KLM still only allows 20 kg for free.
There are currently no international rail connections.
Almost all major cities in Peru are served by long-distance buses. There are many bus companies in the country. Tepsa, Oltursa and Cruz del Sur are particularly popular with tourists due to the modern bus fleet. The buses, with their "cama" or "semi-cama" seats, usually allow for a good night's sleep as well. Tickets can almost always be booked directly at the bus terminal or through the accommodation one day in advance. The commercial site https://www.redbus.pe/en/ is also very helpful for a first price comparison. Such an overview page is very rare in other backpacker countries.
In the street
The Panamericana runs through the country - a network of trunk roads that stretches from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.
The transition at Huaquillas (ECU) and Zarumilla (PER) via the Puente de la Paz (3° 29′ 50″ S 80° 13′ 49″ W) is close to the coast. The check-in is one kilometer before on both sides.
There is also a pedestrian bridge between the towns. There are no entry and exit stamps on this.
23 km south of Zapotillo (ECU) is the Puente Internacional (4° 28′ 37″ S 80° 23′ 46″ W). This in turn is 70 km north of Sullana (PER).
Puente Internacional Macará (4° 23′ 34″ S 79° 57′ 51″ W), 1.5 km from the town of the same name (ECU).
Remote, not far from Zumba (ECU), is the Puente Integración, 173km north of Chamaya on Route 5N.
From the Bolivian city of La Paz (86 km) you can enter the south of Lake Titicaca at the transition in Desaguadero wikivoyagewikipedia (16° 34′ 6″ S 69° 2′ 32″ W) towards Puno (PER, 146 km).
Probably the most scenic route is the transition at Tito Yupanqui (16° 11′ 47″ S 68° 57′ 33″ W) in Lake Titicaca. From La Paz first to San Pablo De Tiquina, where one translates. The next larger town in Peru is Puno.
North around the lake there are minibuses between Juliaca (PER) and Puerto Acosta (BOL), 150 km route. Since the border post 10 km from Puerto Acosta (15° 29′ 30″ S 69° 18′ 44″ W) is used almost exclusively by locals for small border traffic, it is not always manned, which leads to problems with entry/exit stamps.
The Puente de la Integración de Acre (10° 56′ 29″ S 69° 34′ 38″ W) (port.: Ponte da Integração) crosses the Rio Acre on the border between Peru and Brazil, over which the Carretera Transoceánica runs . It is located near the border triangle of Peru, Brazil and Bolivia. The border towns are Iñapari (PER), Assis Brasil and San Pedro de Bolpebra (BOL).
From Santa Rosa do Purus in Brazil (9° 25′ 58″ S 70° 29′ 34″ W) you can take a boat to Peru. The problem is that from the Brazilian side it takes two days by boat to reach the place or you have to fly there in small planes. There is no road on the Peruvian side either.
See the section in the country article Chile.
The main port for cruise ships is Callao (near Lima), some also head for the ports of Salaverry (Trujillo) and Chimbote (Ancash) in the north, and San Martin (Ica) and Matarani (Arequipa) in the south of the country.
On Lake Titicaca there was a boat connection to Bolivia.
In the border triangle of Peru-Colombia-Brazil you can cross the land border in Tabatinga (BRA) / Laetitia (KOL) (4° 15′ 9″ S 69° 56′ 17″ W). To Peru, the border village on an island is Santa Rosa de Yavarí, you have to cross by boat. This place can be reached by boat across the Amazon from Iquitos or Manaus (BRA). There is no land connection in Colombia, only flights.
In Peru it is common to travel by bus. You often have the choice
between three different classes, whereby the most expensive is usually
the one with which tourists prefer to travel. For non-night trips, it is
advisable to take the cheapest category, as this is a good place to talk
to the locals and learn something about "real" Peruvian life. You can
also take the train on certain stretches of the route, although this is
not recommended for reasons of safety and comfort. Shorter overland
routes as well as journeys within the cities can be made with a
so-called collectivo. This is a minibus (sometimes a normal car) owned
by a private person, which drives to a specific destination and only as
soon as there are enough people on the bus. The slightly more expensive
alternative is the taxi. Within cities (with the exception of Lima), the
journey usually costs three sols. It is important that you always agree
on the price before you start your journey. Tip: If someone asks for
more than three Sol, you shake your head and make preparations to
approach another taxi driver, who will then immediately tell you the
Since the privatization of the state railway and partial takeover by foreign corporations, there have been repeated closures and bankruptcies since 1992. On the other hand, tourist routes have just been revived. There are also ordinary trains at reasonable prices. PeruRail holds the concession for passenger service on the standard gauge lines of the “Southern” network.
Reopened in 2017: Puno (at Lake Titicaca) - Juliaca - Cusco - Arequipa. The carriages of the luxury train “Belmond Andean Explorer” were bought in Australia.
Inca Rail has been operating trains again on the narrow-gauge Ferrocarril Santa Ana lines to Macchu Picchu since May 2019. Drive from Cusco, Poroy via Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, also known as “Machupicchu pueblo.” Driving time a little under four hours.
The official languages are Spanish and Quechua. Spanish is spoken by about 70 percent of the population, Quechua by about 24 percent. Quechua and the slightly less common Aymara are indigenous languages, of which around 43-60 are spoken in Peru today. It is possible to communicate in Spanish in almost all areas of importance to the visitor; most indigenous people also have at least basic knowledge. English is understood almost exclusively in the tourist centers.
The currency is the Peruvian Sol (PEN).
€1.00 is approx. 4.05 PEN (as of Apr 2022)
It is common to bargain in markets (not groceries) and in small shops. If you don't do this, you pay an amount in addition to the "foreigner surcharge" that the dealers have added to this for technical reasons. The market in Cuzco is extremely touristy, so that even fruit and groceries have to be bargained for there - 100% tourist surcharges are not uncommon.
Cuisine in Peru varies from region to region. In coastal regions,
ceviche is recommended (raw fish or seafood) marinated with lime juice,
red onions and parsley (the lime's spiciness cooks the fish, so to
speak). It is served with sweet potatoes and corn on the cob. Of course
you can also get "normal" food in Peru, the beef is very good, juicy and
usually very tasty, chicken is also very common, e.g. B. aji de gallina,
or simply pollo a la plancha (fried chicken fillet). Rice and potatoes
with a classic Peruvian meal are a must. Chopped red onions with lime
juice are often served with the meat, which tastes very good. The
starters often consist of potatoes and are also highly recommended: papa
a la huancaina (boiled potatoes, egg and olives covered in a kind of
paprika sauce), causa (mashed potatoes mixed with lime juice and stuffed
with tuna and onions), papa rellena ( mashed potatoes stuffed with meat
or tuna baked in the oven). Palta rellena (avocado stuffed with chicken
or shrimp and vegetables) or tallarines verdes (green pasta with a kind
of spinach sauce) are also common. There is hardly any real butter, only
margarine, white bread with olive oil and salt or bread with fresh
avocado (palta) is highly recommended.
In the Amazon regions e.g. In Iquitos, for example, you can eat the so-called "Suri" (a delicious type of maggot), "Lagarto" (caiman), or the "Paiche" almost everywhere. These are local dishes there.
There are mainly gaseosas to drink, which we would call lemonades (ie Cola, Fanta, etc.), there is also lemonade, which is simply lemon juice with water and sugar. A special "gaseosa" is Inka Cola, a bright yellow unusual drink. Drinking milk is not recommended, there is (at least in the cities) only long-life milk, sometimes even in cans (thickened milk that has to be diluted with water). The fresh fruit juices, which you can get at markets in particular, are fantastic. Water is only available in bottles and often tastes of chlorine.
Mate de coca (dried coca leaves poured with hot water) is highly recommended and can be drunk anywhere.
There is plenty of fruit, apples and strawberries are hard to find, but pineapples, cherimoyas, papayas and other fruits.
Pisco Sour is made with pisco, a grape liquor probably native to the Pisco city area. It is mixed with lemons and beaten egg whites.
A typical ice cream that tastes really good is the Lucuma Pouteria lucuma flavor
Peruvians love going out, especially dancing! Salsa and merengue are
danced in most discos, and there are also some where "normal" music is
played. Beer is usually drunk (e.g. Cusquena or Pilsen Callao).
In Lima, the Barranco district is recommended, there are countless bars and discos there and you absolutely have to cross the puente de los respiros, the wish you have when you cross this bridge for the first time will come true!
Cinemas are only in the big cities.
The "capital of the Incas", Cusco, offers numerous small discotheques in which both locals and tourists from many different countries (mainly backpackers and individual tourists, who are usually on the road for several months) cavort. Beer (e.g. Aguila) and the national drink Pisco Sour (a kind of simple cocktail) are also popular here. Many nightclubs are on the first floor of larger buildings, so there are often several nightclubs in the same building. Admission is mostly free. Taxis are often available in front of these houses to bring the tired night crowd safely back to the hotel. The music in the bars and discotheques includes a colorful mixture of Latin American sounds, pop and jazz. In Cusco there are relatively frequent earthquakes, which sometimes go unnoticed because of the "stomping" of the dancers on the wooden floors. However, if you haven't been there long, you should avoid strenuous activities like dancing on the first evening to allow your body to adjust to the city's high altitude. It is recommended to go to bed early and rest on the first night.
No vaccinations are required for Peru. However, vaccination protection should at least exist against tetanus and rabies. below, i.e. H. Malaria infections can occur in coastal regions. However, it should be noted that some countries require proof of vaccination when entering Peru. For example, B. Brazil proof of yellow fever vaccination. (Status: 2006)
In Peru, despite the location close to the equator, there is a clear
change of seasons, it is winter during the European summer. The rainy
season lasts from late November to early April.
The coastal region has a dry but very cloudy and foggy climate. In the winter months (May to October) there are only a few sunny days, especially in the central region, and despite the tropical latitude it usually stays below 20°C during the day. Summer and early autumn, on the other hand, are very dry and pleasantly warm. Because of the cold Humboldt Current, the water temperatures are significantly lower than one might expect for the tropics; they only reach values suitable for swimming in summer.
In the Altiplano in the southeast it hardly rains at all in the winter months, but very often in the summer. Temperatures vary greatly between day and night (15°-25°C).
The climate of the Amazon plain, on the other hand, is hot and humid evenly throughout the year, with some rainy seasons deviating from those in the rest of the country. In Iquitos, the "dry season" only lasts from June to September, and it rains frequently even during these months.
Prices for letters and packages can be found under “tarifas” at
Servicios Postales del Perú.
Especially in Lima, there are WiFi hotspots in shopping malls and especially in the Miraflores and San Isidro districts. Otherwise internet at home in 2021 is not yet as widespread as in Europe, so internet cafes can be found. They cost 3-4 Sol/hour.
At the beginning of 2021, Movistar ( Telefonica Peru ) had the best coverage but also the highest prices for data packages. Claro (America Movil) is almost as good. Entel used to be called Nextel. Another provider is Bitel (Viettel), which also operates a fiber optic network.
Prepaid cards are called “chips prepago.” ID must be presented upon purchase. You can buy credit (“recarga”) in many shops. If you buy (as of 2021) data packages, these have in common that smaller quantities often only have a very short validity of 7 or 10 days. Some offers allow frequent users of certain data-intensive sites free amounts. If you want to use data for a month, you should estimate 30 sols. Depending on the provider, you get 3.5-7 GB for it.
Street names and house numbers
The following abbreviations are common for street names: “Jr.” for jirón, "road". "Ov." or "Avda." for avenue. "Ctra." is carretera "main street". "Cdra." is cuadra, block, most places are laid out at right angles. "Of." for oficina within a building. As in Spain, many houses outside the actual city center do not have a number, which is indicated by "s/n" (sin número). Some house numbers with a hyphen, e.g. B. “102-105” correspond to the Central European practice “from to”.
Peru is the third largest country in South America after Brazil and
Argentina. The length of the national borders with Ecuador is 1420 km,
with Colombia 1626 km, with Brazil 2995 km, with Bolivia 900 km and with
Chile 160 km. The total length of the national borders is 7101
kilometers. The country's northernmost point is about 4 km south of the
Peru is located in three different landscape zones with their climatic peculiarities:
Costa (coast) – about 12% of the state area,
Sierra (Andes, highlands) – about 28%,
Selva (rain forest, cloud and cloud forest) approx. 60%.
The Costa or Coast is under the influence of the Humboldt Current and
is largely a coastal desert, where agriculture is only possible in river
oases along the rivers coming from the Andes.
The driest desert on earth, the Atacama Desert, begins in southern Peru, on the border with Chile. In the southern part of the Costa up to the capital Lima, which lies about halfway along the Peruvian coast, rainfall is very rare throughout the year.
Soil quality and rainfall increase somewhat north of Lima, making farming outside of river oases possible. Temperatures vary between 12°C in winter and 35°C in summer.
Major cities on the coast, besides Lima, are (a selection, north to south): Tumbes, Sullana, Piura, Chiclayo, Trujillo, Chimbote, Huaral, Pisco, Ica, Nazca and Ilo.
The Sierra/ Mountains begins behind the narrow coastal region. It
consists of several mountain ranges of the Andes, which are interrupted
by longitudinal valleys (Spanish: callejón or valle). Typical for the
entire Andes region are deeply incised valleys (canyons) and
breakthroughs in the mountain ranges (Spanish pongo) by large rivers on
the west and east side of the cordillera.
A typical cross-section of the Andes can be seen in the central Ancash region: from west to east these are the "Black Cordillera" (Cordillera Negra, up to approx. 5000 m), followed by the Callejón de Huaylas (around 3000 m). The next mountain range is the "White Cordillera" (Cordillera Blanca), here is the highest mountain in Peru, the Huascarán (6768 m). Further to the east, the Callejón de Conchucos (with the river Marañón, a tributary of the Amazon) stretches, separated by other mountain ranges.
The highest mountains are Nevado Huascarán (6768 m), Yerupaja (6634 m), Coropuna (6425 m).
While in the north of the country the Andes do not reach the snow line and are very rich in vegetation (climatic zone of the Páramo), they are very steep in the central area, sometimes with wider valleys and high mountains with permanent snow and ice (glaciers). In the central south of Peru (from the latitude of the capital Lima), the landscape is rather hilly between 3000 and 4000 meters, with a few distinctive snow-covered mountain massifs over 5000 meters.
From this degree of latitude towards the south, volcanic cones also appear, some with sporadic volcanic activity (Ubinas), and the Andean chain widens sharply, with a few steep mountain ranges and hilly plateaus in between. In the south of the country (in the regions of Arequipa, Puno, Moquegua and Tacna) there is a certain flattening of the plateau. The so-called Altiplano forms, which gets its typical form around Lake Titicaca.
The mean annual temperature at an altitude of 3300 m is 11 °C. Sometimes there is heavy rainfall in the rather low-rainfall region from October to April. Major cities in this region are (a selection, north to south): Cajamarca, Huaraz, Cerro de Pasco, Huancayo, Ayacucho, Cusco, Puno, Arequipa.
The Inca ruins of Machu Picchu are also located near Cusco.
East of the Andes begins the rain forest region ("Selva"). The
transition is fluid, as there is a tropical mountain forest with a
In the region, which is determined by the daytime climate, the annual mean temperature is around 26 °C and the annual precipitation reaches up to 3800 mm. This is also where other source rivers of the Amazon originate, which flows through the Amazon basin in the direction of Brazil.
The Peruvian rainforest is dense and almost impenetrable. The rivers, which flow from the chains of the Andes in wide meanders to the Amazon, are the only traffic arteries through the vast forest areas.
The only larger cities in this region that are also important for tourism are Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado. Iquitos is not accessible from Lima by land, but only by plane or boat. Puerto Maldonado can be reached by boat, plane (1½ hours from Lima; ½ hour from Cusco) and by truck (24-60 hours) from Cusco. Other major cities in this region are (a selection, north to south) Tarapoto, Tingo María and Pucallpa. The largest nature reserve in Peru is Pacaya-Samiria.
The largest rivers in Peru are the Amazon and its headwaters Río
Apurímac, Río Urubamba, Río Ucayali and Río Marañón, as well as the
Amazon tributaries Napo, Putumayo and Huallaga.
The largest lakes in Peru are Lake Titicaca and Lago Junín between the Andes.
The flora of Peru is very varied and diverse. With a particularly
large variety of species and biodiversity, an exceptionally large number
of endemic species, genera and families of plants and animals as well as
diverse ecosystems, Peru is counted among the megadiverse countries on
earth. Due to the great threat to nature, the ecoregion of the tropical
Andes is also listed internationally as a biodiversity hotspot.
Only dry plants (xerophytes) such as cacti and mesquites grow in the dry and sandy-desert coastal plains. In the rainforest regions up to the cloud forest level of the mountains, on the other hand, you will find a great abundance of plants. Representatives of this vegetation include rubber and mahogany trees and vanilla. In the alpine level of the high mountains there is only a sparse variety of plants due to the natural conditions. Here in the Puna and Páramo ecoregions mainly grasses and ground covers grow.
Peru's national plant is the cantua (Cantua buxifolia), a 2-3 meter tall shrub with long, bell-shaped flowers of the orchard family that grows at 1200-3800 meters altitude.
Just like the flora, Peru's wildlife also has a great variety of species to offer. Gulls and terns, lizards, scorpions, seals and penguins live in the coastal plain and offshore islands. Sardines, lobster, mackerel and about 30 species of whales and dolphins can be found in the Peruvian coastal waters. The Peruvian beaked whale (Mesoplodon peruvianus), was discovered here in 1991. Animals of the more fertile regions in the east include armadillos, alligators, jaguars, cougars, parrots and flamingos. The humpless camels live in the mountainous region, e.g. B. the llama and alpaca. Peru's national animal, the red rock cock (Rupicola peruviana) can be found in Manu National Park.
Peru is considered the country with the greatest diversity of birds in the world. Over 1800 species (more than in Europe and North America combined) are native to Peru, and many are endemic. In all parts of Peru the bird fauna is very diverse. Even in the city of Lima, Peru pigeons and morning buntings are spotted. Different species of flamingos are found in the salt flats of the south and on the Bolivian border. Various species of ibis, shore rockers, Andean geese, Andean woodpeckers, Andean siskins and Andean martins live in the highlands. Various species of hummingbirds occur up to Lake Titikaka and on its islands.
Despite the great variety of birds, there is no bird protection organization in Peru.
The 1993 Constitution of Peru recognizes the country's natural
resources and diversity of ecosystems as national heritage. The
Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales was founded in 1992 as a
department of the Ministry of Agriculture. It is subject to the Sistema
Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas por el Estado, which lists all
protected areas in Peru. The areas are looked after by the Servicio
Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas por el Estado.
The government has ceded a total of 40 percent of Peru's territory to private, for-profit companies for the development of natural resources and the large-scale cultivation of agricultural products. 74 areas totaling 222,297.005 km² or 17.3% of the land area of Peru are protected by the government:
15 national parks (Parques Nacionales (PN)),
15 nature reserves (Reservas Nacionales (RN)),
9 protected areas (Santuarios Nacionales (SN)),
4 historical sanctuaries (Santuarios Históricos (SH)),
3 protected areas for forest fauna (Refugios de Vida Silvestre (RVS)),
2 Protected Landscape Areas (Reservas Paisajísticas (RP)),
6 forest protection areas (Bosques de Protección (BP)),
8 communal protected areas for indigenous peoples (Refugios Comunales (RC)),
2 hunting reserves (Cotos de Caza (CC)) and
13 other protected areas (Zonas Reservadas (ZR)).
One of the most important protected areas is the Manú Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes both tropical lowland forests and Andean mountain habitats.
Peru's population grew from 7.7 million in 1950 to 33 million in
2020. Annual population growth in 2020 was +1.4%. The median age of the
population in 2020 was 31 years. The number of births per woman was
statistically 2.2 in 2020.
Rural exodus is causing the strong immigration of Peruvians to the capital, where around a quarter of the country's population currently lives. A significant proportion of the indigenous population in particular lives below or on the edge of the poverty line. Regionally, most of the poor are in the outskirts of Lima and in the rural areas of the Sierra and Selva. In 2020, 78% of the population lived in cities.
Due to the contrasts in the ethnic cultures, socio-political disparities and the mismanagement and bureaucracy, there is an insufficient supply of the population. Food imports and thus high foreign exchange expenditure follow. Around two and a half million Peruvian citizens live abroad as a result of ongoing emigration, mainly in the USA, Europe and Japan.
Various cultural scientists have dealt with the typical Peruvian mentality, compared self-image and external images and formulated so-called cultural standards of behavior.
Along with Bolivia and Guatemala, Peru is one of the three countries
in Latin America with a large proportion of indigenous populations. It
is not easy to state how high the proportion of the various groups in
the Peruvian population is, since the answers and definitions differ
widely, especially when it comes to the question “Who is an indigenous
person?”. The self-attribution of Peruvians (from the age of 12) in the
2017 census gave this result:
Indigenous: 25.8%, of which 24.9% are indigenous in the Andes or of Andean origin and 0.9% are lowland indigenous
Other, including Peruvians of Asian descent, mainly Chinese and Japanese: 1.2%
not specified: 3.3%
Ethnologists point out that self-attribution should be used with caution. As indigenous people experience discrimination time and time again, many are inclined not to see themselves as indigenous. In this respect, their actual share of the population is somewhat higher. Using everyday language as a benchmark, around 30% of the residents can be considered indigenous, speaking Quechua, Aymara or one of the indigenous languages of the lowlands.
Peru has the largest proportion of Chinese-born population in all of Latin America. A minority of Rhinelanders and Tyroleans has lived in Pozuzo and Oxapampa in the Pasco department since the 19th century, most of whom settled in the second half of the 19th century.
Although migration played an important role in Peru's history, only 0.3% of the population was foreign-born in 2017.
A few isolated peoples live in the rainforest of the Peruvian Amazon. They include (probably) 5,000 people divided into 12 non-sedentary ethnic groups. In addition, another 1,500 who are already in contact with Peruvian civil society. Special protection areas were created for them in Ucayali, such as those of the Murunahua (470.305 ha), Mascho Piro (816.057 ha) and Isconahua (298.487 ha). They are represented by AIDESEP (Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana). The creation of reserves is progressing slowly. So far only these three protected areas have been realized and five have been waiting for their state recognition for 20 years. The existence of the indigenous peoples is threatened by road construction, deforestation and the mining of mineral resources (oil, gold). Peru is a signatory to ILO Convention 169 for the Protection of Threatened Peoples.
The most widely spoken language is Spanish, which is spoken as a mother tongue by 82.9% of the population. It shows diverse regional colorings. What they all have in common, however, is the Seseo, which is widespread throughout South America. In second and third place are the indigenous languages Quechua (13.6%) and Aymara (1.6%). Quechua has the highest proportion of native speakers in the Apurímac region with 69.7%, and Aymara in the Puno region on the border with Bolivia (26.6%).
In the 2017 census, Peruvians over the age of twelve indicated which
denomination or religion they belong to:
Roman Catholic: 76.0%
Protestant or Evangelical: 14.1%
Jehovah's Witnesses 0.8%
Other Christian churches: 1.6%
Other religions (including indigenous religions): 0.4%
5.1% of the population described themselves as not religious.
This is a result of Christian proselytization following the Spanish conquest and after independence by missionary groups from Peru itself, Germany, the USA, Italy and other countries. During the course of the Conquista, idols and religious objects were continually moved further east, to be taken away from the Spaniards. Starting from the incanate of Vilcabamba, the old cults flared up again. The Spanish administration under Francisco de Toledo reacted by relocating to Jesuit reductions. Most of the missionary work involved monks, including Dominicans and Franciscans, and later also Jesuits (in Maynas, today's diocese of Chachapoyas). Despite centuries of fighting against indigenous traditions, Catholic-Christian rites are mixed with ethnic religions from pre-Columbian times (syncretism), not least in rural areas, which is particularly evident at religious festivals.
Important religious events are the Catholic festival of devotion to Señor de los Milagros in Lima and in Cusco the sun festival Inti Raymi. This originally Inca festival was reinstated in a growing revival in 1944.
The indigenous people of the Amazon lowlands continue to have their own religions and beliefs, such as the Asháninka religion.
As in many Latin American countries, evangelical and charismatic churches and faith communities such as Seventh-day Adventists, Assemblies of God and the Evangelical Church of Peru, but also other groups such as Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, have experienced a large influx in Peru for several decades, which - partly financially supported from the USA - actively and sometimes aggressively soliciting members.
The first immigrants came around 20,000 to 10,000 BC. to what is now
Peru. The oldest known monumental buildings date from around 3200 BC.
Stepped pyramids, processional streets and enclosed courtyards were
found at Sechín Bajo in the Casma Valley, 370 kilometers north of the
capital Lima. Discovered in 1992, the site has been studied by German
archaeologists since 2003. It can be considered certain that corn,
peanuts, cassava and pumpkins were planted and that artificial
irrigation systems were installed.
In excavation layers from around 1700 BC. In addition, numerous incised drawings were found. They represent hybrids of caiman and man. Because French archaeologists found remains of a culture in eastern Ecuador that also represented the caiman and that dated back to 2450 BC. Being dated to about 1000 BC, cultural influences from the jungle area could have inspired the culture of Sechin. In any case, no caimans could live in the Andes, so the suspicion arises that this culture came from the lowlands on the eastern edge of the Andes.
The high culture of Chavín de Huántar was initially dated to the period from 800 BC. to 300 BC dated. New investigations meanwhile have an existence as early as 1200 BC. proven. The Nazca culture, best known today for the Nazca Lines, developed from around 200 BC. to around 600 AD in the area around Nazca. The Tiahuanaco culture can be found around Lake Titicaca, the oldest traces of which date from around 1500 BC. come from. On the coast, in the irrigation area of the Andean rivers, differentiated cultures such as those of the Moche in the region around Lambayeque emerged in the first millennium AD. Before the Inca Empire, Chan Chan, as the capital of the Chimú, was a large city with a developed urban culture. In 2018, traces were found of more than 100 children who were ritually killed and laid out, i.e. sacrificed, by the Chimú.
Around 1200, the city-state of the Inca around the city of Cusco arose on the high plateaus of Peru. From 1438 the small state expanded to become the great empire of the Incas and, until 1532, encompassed large parts of today's states of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile as well as smaller parts of Colombia and Argentina.
The Spaniards conquered this country from 1532 and founded the Viceroyalty of Peru for the Spanish crown, which at the time of its greatest extent stretched from today's Panama to the extreme south of the continent. In the 18th century, however, it was reduced in size by the spin-off of the viceroyalty of New Granada and La Plata.
In 1780, protests against forced labor and the purchase of goods (reparto) developed into an insurgency, led by the indigenous José Gabriel Condorcanqui. Referring to his descent from the last Inca ruler, he called himself Tupac Amaru II. Condorcanqui's movement wasn't actually directed against the ruling Spanish crown and Spanish institutions, but against abuses by those watching. He tried to form an alliance between the indigenous people and the Spaniards born in Peru and emphasized that white, mestizo, indigenous and black people were affected by the oppression. Initially, the movement was also supported by urban whites and priests, but these quickly distanced themselves from the comparatively radical goals. The rebellion was crushed, Condorcanqui, his wife and his closest associates were publicly tortured and executed in Cusco. Subsequently, the Spanish stripped the indigenous aristocracy of their last privileges and banned the use of indigenous languages and symbols. The liberation from colonial rule could therefore only be carried out by the whites (criollos) and came from outside.
Many residents of Peru still felt a sense of belonging to Spain.
However, by the end of the 18th century only one in eight immigrants was
of Spanish origin. The fact that the Criollos were not involved in the
administration of the country was perceived as a disparagement. Spain
appointed emissaries who did not come from their ranks. Also, the
criollos in Madrid had no voice. The political situation - a liberal
regime had come to power in Spain - created a mood of upheaval, but an
independence movement did not form. Only an intervention by Río de la
Plata, today's Argentina, and Chile led to independence, since the two
states were interested in an independent neighboring state. Río de la
Plata was primarily interested in the high plains of Bolivia, which at
that time still belonged to Peru, while Chile's interests were mainly
for economic reasons. Argentine General San Martín landed in Paracas Bay
with a mixed Chilean-Argentine army in 1820 (San Martín Expedition). The
viceroy, representing Spain, then withdrew to Cusco. San Martín tried to
exploit the power vacuum and through various measures to improve the
conditions for independence. On July 21, 1821, some notables in Lima
signed the Declaration of Independence (Acta de Independencia del Perú)
written by Manuel Pérez de Tudela. A week later, on July 28, 1821, the
government and representatives of the military and clergy swore an oath
to the declaration, which had since become law. Therefore, July 28th is
Peru's national holiday.
San Martín could not avoid appointing himself head of the new state, and then held elections to a popular assembly. But he did not get the support from Simón Bolívar that would have been necessary to eliminate the viceroy's troops, who were still entrenched in central Peru (high Andean plateaux). When San Martín left Peru, Simón Bolívar promised the new parliament to intervene. He succeeded in defeating the armies loyal to Spain in 1824, but had no support in post-colonial Peru. It was only in the coming decades that progress was made, for example with regard to the integration of the Indians, who made up 60% of the population. Slavery was also abolished.
The decentralized forces were strengthened by independence. In the individual regions, the Caziques were the actual rulers, either because they owned large estates or because they were former generals with influence in the army. Peru was torn inside. A civil war ensued between the north, which was protectionist and had Chile's approval, and the south, which brought about a Bolivian-Peruvian coalition. The North eventually triumphed, and years of political instability followed, with a dozen presidents and multiple constitutions. Around 1841, guano, extracted from the excrement of coastal seabirds, was discovered as a fertilizer and used first in England and then exported throughout Europe. For many years, guano became the main export of the Peruvian economy. The income from its sale was used to modernize the administration of the country. The guano also gave the state a source of income that made it independent of the domestic economy, and the need to levy taxes to finance state spending decreased. The Caziques lost influence and the Indians no longer had to pay a poll tax, and slavery was abolished. Science was encouraged. The first party, the Partido Civil, was founded, which saw the construction of railway lines as a prerequisite for the development of other economic sectors such as mining. However, this project could only be partially implemented. Routes were built, but they were not connected to each other.
The reason for the Saltpetre War that broke out in 1879 was that
Bolivia, contrary to contractual agreements, wanted to tax the Chilean
and English companies that exploited the saltpeter deposits. Peru also
owned several guano and mining companies in the disputed area, and
Bolivia offered Peru economic privileges in Antofagasta in the event of
an alliance. In addition, Peru saw the political and economic hegemony,
which the country had assumed from colonial times as a former
viceroyalty of Spain, threatened by Chile in the South Pacific. In 1874
a secret pact was signed with Bolivia against Chile. However, this
alliance could not prevent Chile's victory. Bolivia withdrew from the
war in 1880 after losing several battles and completely renouncing its
claim to the Antofagasta region.
Chile, meanwhile, had invaded the Peruvian region of Tarapaca northward and offered Peru a truce and a peace treaty. However, Peru refused to cede Tarapaca to Chile. Chile launched an invasion war in the following years and invaded the capital Lima in 1881 after the Peruvian army had been destroyed. The official government was dissolved and Chilean General Patricio Lynch installed as the country's governor. However, some Peruvian generals such as Miguel Iglesias and Andrés Avelino Cáceres had escaped and attempted to wage organized guerrilla warfare from the eastern and northern Sierras, with rather dubious success. In July 1883, Cáceres still managed to field a conventional division of 1,500 men in order to aim for a final liberation. However, the last hopes were dashed at the Battle of Huamachuco by Chilean Colonel Alejandro Gorostiaga; the war was finally lost.
The Treaty of Ancón in October 1883 marked the end of the war, Tarapaca and Tacna were ceded to Chile (Tacna was returned in 1929), and the Chilean army withdrew from Peru. The reason for the defeat was also the lack of a functioning state apparatus in Peru. The war increased foreign debt, which was reduced by selling mineral concessions and land to foreign banks and corporations.
The Electoral Law of 1896 granted the right to vote to all Peruvian men who were at least 21 years old, could read and write and paid higher taxes. In 1931 the right to vote in the census was abolished and at the same time compulsory voting was introduced. All men over the age of 21, provided they could read and write, were now eligible to vote.
Peru had to suffer from the consequences of the war for about 20
years. It was not until the early 20th century that government revenue
from excise taxes had doubled what it had been at the end of the war
with Chile. The economic structure changed, new products were added, and
copper replaced silver in the mining industry. In terms of exports,
agricultural products such as sugar, rubber and, later, cotton were in
the lead. The countries of origin of the most important investors were
the United States and England. The cause of the lost war was not only
the disorganization of the army. The indigenous majority of the country
had not really taken part in this struggle. Peruvian intellectuals
pointed out the danger of neglecting this section of the population and
called for the Indian heritage to be made part of a Peruvian identity,
and the movement of indigenousism was born. The right to vote excluded
illiterates and women from voting, so the government was elected by only
a small proportion of the population. The political organizations had
also previously agreed on a candidate, so that the election winner was
already certain before the vote was taken. With the election of
President Augusto Leguía y Salcedo (1919–1930), a candidate who also
represented members of the new middle classes prevailed for the first
Leguía lost power during the economic crisis. The reformed electoral law made participation in the elections compulsory and also granted minorities the right to be represented.
New opposition movements formed, on the one hand the APRA founded in 1924 by Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre. This also organized its followers outside of the political sphere in professional associations and evening schools and created social institutions with its "Volkshäuser", which enabled it to anchor its organization throughout the country. She wanted to overcome Latin America's dependence on the United States through social reforms and nationalizations. De la Torre considered the development of a separate middle class to be essential as a preliminary to socialism.
This is in contrast to José Carlos Mariátegui, who founded the Communist Party. In the history of Peru, in the indigenous elements of the communal economy, he already saw the germs of a socialist society. From 1924 Mariátegui published the magazine Amauta, which was important as an intellectual forum for all of Latin America.
In the 1931 elections, the Aprist party faced the right-wing candidate, Sanchez Cerro. Even in these elections, only 392,363 eligible voters took part (out of a total population of approximately 6 million). The winner, Cerro, was accused of voter fraud. Civil war-like conditions ensued. After an attempted uprising in 1932, President Cerro had about 1,000 APRA supporters shot by the military near the city of Trujillo. Since then, the military and APRA have faced each other with irreconcilable enmity. Cerro himself was assassinated in 1933.
A government came under General Benavides, who remained in power until 1939. He had pursued a pro-Germany policy that his successor Manuel Prado (1939–1945) did not continue. Peru supported the Allies in World War II with supplies of raw materials. The war did not enter until February 12, 1945, but this meant that all Germans were only allowed to stay in Lima for a few months, including Maria Reiche, the Dresden cartographer of the Nazca Lines. Before that, however, in 1941, the Peruvian army invaded southern Ecuador, triggering the Peruvian-Ecuadorian War. The Peruvian military burned down the city of Santa Rosa, occupied the important banana port of Machala and threatened Guayaquil. As a result, Ecuador had to give half of its remaining territory to Peru in the 1942 Treaty of Rio de Janeiro, mostly areas in the east and south-east of the Amazon around Iquitos.
The last border war with Peru over the area of the Cordillera del Cóndor on the Río Cenepa was sparked off in 1995 by disputes about the interpretation of this treaty and was only officially ended in 1999 with a border and peace treaty that was now described as "final".
Efforts were already being made during the years of the economic
crisis to make the economy less dependent on exports. This policy
continued throughout World War II. Import taxes helped establish modest
industrial production. Agricultural products were made into finished
products such as cotton textiles. Social legislation had already been
introduced under Manuel Prado.
In 1945, APRA-backed José Luis Bustamante y Rivero became president, implementing social reforms and relief programs for the urban poor. The policy of state intervention (currency control, price freeze) led to high inflation and a black market. Bustamante was overthrown by General Manuel Odría in 1948 after an Aprist (by left-wing dissidents of the APRA) attempted rebellion. This banned the APRA and other left-wing organizations, but pursued a program of import-substituting industrialization in the economic sphere.
Women became eligible to vote in 1955 at the behest of General Manuel Apolinario Odría Amoretti, who had ruled as dictator since 1948. He and his wife, Maria Delgado de Odría, wanted to repeat the success of the Peróns, and women's suffrage was part of their strategy. Thus, active and passive women's suffrage was introduced on September 7, 1955. However, illiterate women, most of them Native Americans, were barred from voting until the 1980s. Because of this, women's turnout in the 1956 election was significantly lower than men's, and the general's plan ended in defeat.
In 1956, former President Prado returned to power with the connivance of APRA. During these years a fishing industry developed that soon employed as many people as mining, which was firmly in the hands of foreign investors. The agricultural industry in the north on the coast lost importance. In the years after the Second World War, an increasing proportion of the population moved from the mountains to the cities. A middle class had developed that no longer identified with APRA's revolutionary doctrines. She strove for more rights and rejected the authoritarian regimes that were in power. They felt represented by the Acción Popular and its leader Fernando Belaúnde Terry, who won the presidential elections held in 1963. Reforms in the countryside already seemed necessary under Prado, but could not be implemented. Belaunde's agrarian reform affected a small proportion of the large landowners and did not include the estates on the northern coast. At the end of his reign came the economic crisis that broke out in 1967 and the resulting shortage of foreign exchange (the sol had to be drastically devalued). Public orders to industry were suspended and unemployment rose significantly.
Dissatisfaction among the younger military with the Belaúnde
government, particularly over a North American company's control of oil,
led to another coup in 1968. A military junta under Juan Velasco
Alvarado took over the government.
Until now, the Peruvian elite, recruited from the large landowners of the highlands and the coast, had ruled the country for centuries. The land reform of 1969 under General Juan Velasco Alvarado stripped her of her power base. The military government tried to establish a mixed economy system through land and economic reforms. The company Petroperú, which still exists today, was founded to nationalize the oil deposits. Foreign companies were partly expropriated, but compensated and even encouraged to invest if they were willing to cooperate with state institutions. The construction of a basic industry was taken in hand by the state. Occupational health and safety was improved, and land ownership radically changed with a land reform. The expropriated large estates were transferred to cooperative ownership. However, because the large estates in the highlands were often stolen from the village communities, the cooperatives were not accepted there, but were seen as a continuation of the land grab.
The aim of the military was a third way between capitalism and communism. The school system was expanded, the media was expropriated and given into the hands of popular organizations. The indigenous heritage was popularized with the aim of developing a social consciousness oriented towards mestizo culture. Quechua became the second official language, making Peru a pioneer in South America. In terms of foreign policy, Peru was involved in the Non-Aligned Movement, which led to tensions with the United States.
General Velasco was overthrown in 1975 by General Francisco Morales Bermúdez, who returned to a more conservative political course.
In 1980, Fernando Belaúnde Terry, who had been overthrown in 1968,
took power again in free elections and handed some of the nationalized
companies back into private ownership. He was succeeded by Alan García
In the 1980s, the left-leaning guerrilla organization Sendero Luminoso (“Shining Path”), led by philosophy professor Abimael Guzmán, began an armed struggle against the government. From Ayacucho, the organization now controlled large areas of the country. Both sides committed massacres of civilians in connection with the fight against political opponents. The activity of the Sendero Luminoso lasted until the 1990s. The country's other left-wing guerrilla, Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru, opposed violence against civilians.
The 1990 elections pitted the right, led by writer Mario Vargas Llosa (FREDEMO), a divided left, the ruling APRA party led by Alan García, blamed for the country's economic difficulties, and independent candidate Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori had formed the Cambio 90 coalition, supported by small business owners and freelancers. In the second ballot, the populist candidate Fujimori won a clear victory. First, Fujimori imposed drastic economic measures; High price increases and increased unemployment were the result. The aim was to repay the national debt and thus reintegrate Peru into the global economy.
Domestically, an intensive struggle against the Marxist guerrillas began, with the suspension of constitutional rights. Political opponents of Fujimori who had no connection with the guerrillas were not spared in this context either. A major achievement was the capture of Sendero Luminoso leader Guzmán, who called for a ceasefire. This and the economic recovery brought Fujimori the approval of broad sections of the population. On the other hand, his government was under pressure from abroad, which condemned the suppression of the democratic opposition and imposed economic sanctions. Fujimori could not ignore this and could not avoid allowing opposition groups. Finally, the entire political opposition in Peru came together for joint action. Its leader was Alejandro Toledo, who came to power in 2001 with his organization Perú Posible.
Between 1996 and 2001, President Fujimori's government committed gross human rights violations against the largely indigenous rural population of Peru. Behind the facade of a "National Family Planning Program" the state authorities forcibly sterilized over 270,000 women and over 20,000 men. The years of Fujimori's dictatorship were dealt with in a court case and the former president was sentenced to life imprisonment for said human rights violations. In December 2017, however, Fujimori was pardoned by then-President Pablo Pedro Kuczynski.
The government is representative, decentralized and based on the
principle of separation of powers. The primary interests of the state
include defending state sovereignty, protecting the population from
threats to their security and promoting the common good. In reality,
however, despite some foreign trade successes, there are serious
political, social and economic problems.
According to the 1993 constitution, a state president is elected by the people every five years, who cannot be re-elected consecutively. The President's broader responsibilities include representing the State internally and externally, directing general government policy, calling elections for President and Congress, and implementing and upholding the Constitution and the laws. From March 2018 to November 2020, Martín Vizcarra was President of the Republic of Peru. After his removal from office, the President of Parliament Manuel Merino de Lama (* 1961) succeeded him as interim President in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. After his appointment there were massive protests by the population, which the police countered with violence and the use of tear gas and rubber bullets. There were also a few deaths among the demonstrators. Already on November 15, 2020 he resigned. After a first compromise candidate initially failed in parliament, the center politician Francisco Sagasti was elected the new speaker of the parliament on November 16, 2020, who thus, in accordance with the constitution, was promoted to the office of Peruvian president until July 28, 2021. Dina Ercilia Boluarte has been the President of Peru since December 7, 2022.
The Prime Minister (official title: Presidente del Consejo de Ministros, Chairman of the Council of Ministers) heads the cabinet. Legally, Peru is a semi-presidential republic because the constitution requires the president's nomination of the prime minister to be confirmed by the congress, and because the congress can overthrow the prime minister by a vote of no confidence.
The Peruvian parliament is called the Congreso. The government
submits bills. The Congress votes on them and thereby acquire legal
force. Furthermore, the Congreso can depose the President by means of a
vote of no confidence. The Congress has exercised this right seven times
in the past 12 months. The current composition of the Congreso is Perú
Libre 16 (37 = at the beginning of the legislature), Fuerza Popular 24
(24), Acción Popular 14 (16), Alianya para el Progreso 11 (15),
Renovación Popular 9 (13), Avanza país - Partido de Integración Social 9
(7), Juntos por el Perú 5 (5), Podemos Perú 5 (5), Somos Perú 5 (5), No
agrupados 6 (3), Bloque Magisterial de Concertación Nacional 10 (0),
Peru Democrático 6 (0), Integridad y Desarollo 5 (0), Peru Bicentenario
Voting is compulsory in Peru. If a citizen who is entitled to vote does not show up for the presidential elections, he has to pay a fine afterwards. However, as these are secret elections, the submission of non-usable ballot papers cannot be penalized.
On April 8, 2001, presidential and congressional elections were held. Alejandro Toledo, Alberto Fujimori's stubborn opponent, managed to get 36.51% of the votes, followed surprisingly by ex-president Alan García (25.78%) and the candidate of the Partido Popular Cristiano (PPC, People's Christian Party), Lourdes Flores Nano (24.30%). For this reason, on June 3, 2001, a runoff election was held between Toledo and García. Toledo, who came from a poor background, defeated his opponent García by six percentage points. Toledo's Perú Posible party has established itself as a political alternative. In Congress, Perú Posible got 45, the APRA 26, Unidad Nacional 17 and FIM 11 of the 120 available seats. The victor won the support of FIM (11), Popular Action AP (3), SOMOS PERU (4), UPP (6) and Renacimiento Andino (1), giving the ruling party a majority of 70 seats in Congress. Toledo had to react to the growing criticism of his government with a cabinet reshuffle several times (most recently in August 2005, after the resignation of Prime Minister Ferrero). The appointments of Kuczynski as finance minister (already finance minister in Toledo's 1st cabinet) and of Carlos Ferrero as prime minister, the resignation of Jaime Quijandra and Silva Ruete and the appointment of Fernando Olivera as foreign minister, which triggered Ferrero's resignation, should be highlighted.
In the November 2002 local and regional elections, APRA managed to become the first political force in the country. APRA is now the political leader in twelve of the country's 25 regions and ten major cities.
On April 9, 2006, the presidential elections took place. Ollanta Humala received 30.9% of the votes. He was followed by former President Alan García with 24.7%. In third place (just under one percent behind García) was right-wing politician Lourdes Flores Nano, who just a few months earlier had been considered a sure winner. Since none of the candidates had the necessary absolute majority, there was a runoff between Ollanta Humala and Alan García on June 4, 2006. García won with 52.625% of the votes. Although Ollanta Humala won in the majority of the departments, García was able to win over a higher proportion of the population overall. Especially in the capital and in the departments on the coast, where the economic situation of the population is better, García was elected with a majority. Ollanta, on the other hand, received the votes of the poorer parts of the country in the Selva and Sierra.
Humala's UPP got 44 seats in parliament, García's APRA 35 seats. The centre-right alliance National Unity (Unidad Nacional) from Lourdes received 19 mandates.
In the elections on April 10, 2011, Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori received the most votes in the first ballot. In the second ballot, Humala won the majority of votes and became the new president on July 28.
The presidential elections on April 10, 2016 resulted in the first round for Keiko Fujimori with 40% ahead of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski with 21% and the left-wing politician Verónika Mendoza with around 19%. Since none of the candidates was able to achieve the required absolute majority, a runoff election took place on June 5, 2016 between Kuczynski, who was treated as an outsider, and Fujimori, who had political experience. With the support of Mendoza, who lost in the first ballot, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski finally won the elections with 50.12% of the votes. He took office on July 28, 2016. In March 2018 he resigned after allegations of corruption; He was succeeded by Vice President Martín Vizcarra.
At the end of September 2019, a dispute escalated between Vizcarra and Congress over the appointment of judges to the Peruvian Constitutional Court. He then dissolved the Congress and announced new elections. In return, Congress voted to suspend Vizcarra and appointed Vice President Mercedes Aráoz interim president, who resigned a day later. Vizcarra returned to office.
After the parliament was dissolved in September 2019, the new composition of the parliament was voted on on January 26, 2020 to end the current legislative period. However, because a new electoral law prevents MPs from being re-elected, many established politicians did not run for the election. The previously insignificant party Frente Popular Agrícola del Perú (FREPAP) achieved a surprising success, becoming the third strongest force.
In July 2020, then-President Martín Vizcarra scheduled a new presidential and congressional election for April 11, 2021. A week before the election, there were no clear favorites among the candidates for the presidency. Six candidates could still hope to achieve the best or second-best result in the first round and thus advance to the second round runoff. In opinion polls, none of them gained more than 13% approval. After a runoff with Keiko Fujimori, Pedro Castillo received the most votes. On July 29, 2021, he swore the oath of office as President. He appointed Guido Bellido of the left-wing Peru Libre movement as prime minister. In Congress, however, MPs from the center and right-wing parties make up the majority. According to his own statements, Guido Bellido resigned in October 2021 at Castillo's request. He was succeeded by the environmental and human rights activist Mirtha Vásquez.
Pedro Castillo was removed by Congress on December 7th. The successor is a government headed by former Vice President Dina Boluarte.
Relations with the USA have traditionally been a foreign policy
priority for Peru. Accordingly, Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
was one of the first foreign heads of state to visit the new US
President Donald Trump in Washington at the end of February 2017. At the
same time, Peru is interested in deepening its relations with the Latin
American countries – in particular with the member states of the Pacific
Alliance, which is geared towards economic integration – the EU, Russia
and the countries of the Pacific region. The assumption of the
pro-tempore presidency of the Pacific Alliance (from July 2015 to July
2016), the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) in
February 2016 and the hosting of the APEC summit in November 2016
Expanding relations with Brazil is very important to Peru. Several interoceanic road links have emerged. In addition, the construction of a bio-oceanic railway line is being examined. Brazilian investors have become increasingly involved in large infrastructure projects, a commitment that has recently been viewed with increasing criticism by the public due to numerous allegations of corruption.
Along with Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia, Peru is a member of the Andean Community (CAN), whose efforts to integrate the region politically and economically are currently making slow progress, not least because of the different political orientations of the governments of the participating states.
On December 8, 2004, the Community of South American States (CNS) was founded in Cusco/Peru, of which Peru is a member. In April 2007 it was renamed the Union of South American States (UNASUR).
Economically the most significant is the country's membership in the Pacific Alliance (Alianza del Pacífico). It is a group primarily focused on free trade and economic integration. At the summit in February 2014 in Cartagena/Colombia, the member states decided to exempt 92% of goods from customs duties.
Peru is divided into 25 departments, 196 provinces (provincias) and 1874 districts (distritos) (as of 2020). However, only 15% of the districts have a precise boundary and only 12% of the provinces. Since the country's regionalization in 2002, the departments have been self-governing units headed by a gobernador who is determined by direct election. The first national regional elections were held in November 2002. The country was also planned to be divided into regions. In a referendum on October 30, 2005, 78 percent of the population of 16 departments spoke out against merging them into five regions (Norte, Nor Centro Oriente, Ica-Huancavelica-Ayacucho, Cusco-Apurímac and Arequipa-Puno-Tacna).
Above all, the numerous indigenous population groups of Peru often
still live from independent subsistence farming using traditional
methods: such as tropical gardening forms in the Selva and in the Andes
field cultivation and alpaca long-distance grazing.
Measured by economic indicators, according to the World Bank, Peru belongs to the group of emerging countries (upper-middle-income economies).
In October 2015, the World Bank and the IMF met in Lima. On this occasion, the World Bank prepared an analysis of the economic and social development of the country, which is considered a model country by development organizations. The economy has grown by an average of 6.4% over the past ten years, the second-best result of any country in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the same period, per capita income doubled to $6,370. The incomes of the poorest 40% of all households have increased more than the average. It has also managed to increase the savings rate from 10% of GDP in the 1990s to 22% in 2014.
Peru is one of the most economically liberal countries in Latin America. In the Global Competitiveness Index, which measures a country's competitiveness, Peru ranks 72nd out of 137 countries (as of 2017-2018). Peru's competitiveness has been declining since 2013. This is mainly because other countries have caught up a lot in this regard. Of all Latin American countries, only Chile was able to improve its position by one place. It is also due to lower foreign investment, tax policies and legal regulations that impede economic activity.
According to official statistics, income inequality and the poverty rate fell in the 2000s. In 2009, 34.8% of the population lived in poverty. The proportion of those living in extreme poverty was 11.5% in 2009. With a decline of almost 20 percentage points since 2001, poverty in Peru has fallen the most in Latin America after Argentina. Experts, however, doubted that the 2009 statistics accurately reflected Peru's poverty figures, as the proportion of those who went hungry had increased according to the same statistics. There are large regional differences in income and in the poverty rate.
The monthly minimum wage has remained unchanged at 930 soles since 2018. Child labor can be found in many places: In 2013, 1,650,000 children under the age of 14 worked in Peru.
State budget, taxes and finance
In 2016, the national budget included expenditure equivalent to US$66.4 billion, compared to income equivalent to US$60.8 billion. This results in a budget deficit of 1.9% of GDP. Public debt was 24.5% of GDP in 2017. For 2018, it is planned to increase government spending by 7% with the aim of strengthening the domestic economy. In terms of debt per capita (US$1600), Peru has the third lowest in Latin America, ahead of Chile and Mexico (only Paraguay and Bolivia have less debt).
In 2006, government spending (as a percentage of GDP) accounted for the following areas:
In Peru, all financial transactions are taxed at 18% (Impuesto General a las Ventas (IGV) as of 24/01/2018).
In total, tax revenue in 2017 was 90,706 million soles, which is 1179 million soles less than in the previous year. The state tax administration SUNAT determined that in 2017 the outstanding taxes totaled 58 billion soles, of which 22 billion soles are attributable to VAT and 35 billion soles to income tax. The big companies owe the state 7 billion soles in taxes. Furthermore, the customs authorities lose the equivalent of 600 million US dollars annually through smuggling.
In 2015, 5.1 million jobs were counted, of which 64% worked in the
private sector, 35% worked in the state sector and 2% were self-employed
for the state. Of the 3.4 million covered workers, half are on temporary
contracts. Non-wage labor costs are the highest in Latin America at 59%.
The average income of a worker in Lima in mid-2017 was 1673 soles per
month. That corresponded to 1.97 times the statutory minimum wage of 850
soles at the time. Wages from 29,050 soles must be taxed. However,
special expenses can be claimed. 72% of Peruvian workers are not
contractually covered. On average, the Peruvian worker changes employers
every four or five years, either because they have been made redundant
or have resigned. Employees are entitled to 43 days off per year, but
the weekly working time is 48 hours. The 43 days off are made up of 30
vacation days and 13 public holidays.
More than half of Peruvians are freelancers.
According to official sources, unemployment in 2017 was 4.1%. 68.6% of workers are not covered by contracts, a higher percentage than in other Latin American countries. (see article Peru – informal economy) In small businesses, 79% of the workers are without a contract and 65.3% have no regular or accounted earnings.
The majority of employees have no pension insurance. In 2017, only six out of ten Peruvians of retirement age received a pension. There is no unemployment insurance.